Pete Williams at Oriel Mwldan
Terrestrial Locomotion (of land and self-propulsion)
Pete Williams is a print-maker, with a long-standing reputation for detailed artistic work and his current exhibition at Theatr Mwldan, has the potential to appeal to a keen audience of those who love both the work of a craftsman and that of a fine artist, as this unique work is an exemplary demonstration of a combination of both practices and takes them to a new level.
The work currently on show at Mwldan relates not only to Williams’s printmaking, but also, perhaps surprisingly, to his love of running, and it is this which is recorded and translated into tangible and beautiful pieces of work.
‘When I run,’ he says. ‘My mind begins to empty of all the stresses and strains of daily life. After I have got over the first couple of muscle aching, shin battering miles, my body and mind tend to level out and a serene calm begins to settle.’
Out of this serenity and after the running, comes the creating of the objects which will capture the essence of the runs themselves. These are huge pieces of work in wood. Circular and powerful they are named for the runs; Llwyernog Silver Mine, Elan Valley Reservoir; and they are worked with chisels and a craftsman’s tools. Designs and patterns put into the wood, bring texture and shape, then inks are added and worked into the designs, creating the blocks from which the prints can be taken. The fact that these giant circular designs, can then be reproduced again and again, is of course the magical part of the print-making process, and a most appealing process it is. But then the truth is that these blocks are in themselves complete and beautiful works of art.
Williams is the co-founder and director of the Print Market Project in Cardiff, now a studio with facilities for stone and plate lithography, silkscreen, relief and etching, coupled with opportunities for forward thinking and combining practices. Williams calls it ‘A most Important Space’ the name of the film about the Project, showing alongside the work in the Mwldan gallery. The soundtrack and the images within the film, generate a feeling of uplift and a suggestion that making art can be a joyful, life-enhancing pursuit. By watching the smiles of those viewing, it would seem that idea can be infectious.
Williams is also associate lecturer at Cardiff and Swansea Metropolitan University and Carmarthen School of Art on the BA/MA Fine Art Printmaking and his show is in Oriel Mwldan until 24th August.